“Gives voice to persecuted LGBT Russian youth." - The Georgia Straight
- One World Prague
- Movies That Matter
- DocPoint Helsinki
- Vancouver Queer FF
- *Best Political Film Award* | Filmfest Hamburg
This harrowing documentary gives voice to brave Russian LGBT youth behind the Children 404 underground internet movement, oppressed by Putin's corrosive propaganda, legal onslaught, and the pervasive, violent homophobia in Russian society.
In 2013, pandering to Putin's conservative base of support, the Russian government passed a bill forbidding the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors”, in typical unapologetic fashion. Overnight, it became illegal for teachers, parents, and psychologists to tell young LGBT people that they were healthy or normal. The message has been reinforced further by the ubiquitous state-run media and the Russian Orthodox church, and encouraged a culture of discrimination and violence against increasingly-isolated LGBT youth.
Journalist Elena Klimova founded the Children 404 project in response. Referencing the common 'Error 404 - page not found' web message, the project aims to collect the harrowing testimonies of Russian LGBT youth, their photos (disguised to escape facial recognition), and to offer some refuge and support. The project is strictly illegal in Russia.
Children 404 shares the personal experiences of forty-five Russian teens through anonymous interviews and video diaries. Their stories detail the humiliations and abuse they’ve been enduring, as well as some of their courageous stands against the bullies of the state. Some lament the struggle to build public empathy for the countless victims of the hate campaign. One activist, having fled his small city for still-intolerant Moscow, realizes he must leave his country altogether if he hopes to have a family and lead a normal life, and is attempting to emigrate to Canada.
This startling, brave documentary is both a chronicle and a manifestation of a pressing social movement that calls for international exposure and solidarity.
76 Minutes | Russian with English subtitles.
Directed by: Askold Kurvo & Pavel Loparev
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